Team GB 2012 Olympic kit revealed

TeamGB athletes Athletes say the kit has the 'wow' factor but some people have criticised it as 'too blue'

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Team GB's athletes will step out in a dark indigo blue kit, inspired by the union flag, with red shoes, when they compete at the 2012 London Olympics.

Leading designer Stella McCartney, who collaborated with Adidas, said it combined style with performance.

She was at the Tower of London launch where athletes modelling the technical kit said it had the "wow" factor.

But some people have criticised the outfits as "too blue" and looking more Scottish than British.

McCartney, Team GB creative director at Adidas, has designed the Olympic and Paralympic athletes' clothing for competition time, training, medal ceremonies and relaxation time - known as 'Village wear'.

Team GB Olympic kit launch

She said the kit was designed to bring the athletes under one look and feel, with British competitors in all 26 Olympic and 20 Paralympic sports wearing part of the same 590-piece collection.

The "untraditionally British" design features a contemporary take on the union flag, she said.

"Something that was very important to me was to try and use that very iconic image but to dismantle it and try to soften it, break it down and make it more fashionable in a sense."


Where Stella McCartney has excelled in her collaboration is in understanding how to create the perfect mix of sportswear functionality with fashion edge.

Her approach to design is so successful because she understands the demands and desires of the modern market, underpinning this by addressing both the practical and the desirable.

The beauty of the union flag is that it gets reinterpreted every generation.

From the Mods in the 1960s to Geri Halliwell in the '90s Britpop era and to Alexander McQueen's torn and tattered fin de si├Ęcle tailcoat for David Bowie.

By deconstructing the union flag and using this as a motif for the construction and design of the Team GB kit, Stella has reinvigorated it for the 21st Century and made it have a fashionable dynamism that is both relevant and modern as contemporary sportswear.

But Scottish pentathlete Mhairi Spence and some commentators on Twitter have criticised the deconstructed flag, which features pale and dark blue instead of the traditional red.

Spence wrote: "Little disappointed! Doesn't look very GB!! It just needs more RED!"

While @donaldjdonald, said: "Turquoise, white and blue is the new red, white and blue apparently. Did someone forget to order the red dye for the Team GB Olympic kit?"

Asked about the criticism, McCartney told the BBC: "I wanted to start with the union flag, but I'm really aware the reds, whites and blues are in other nations' flags and sometimes you can feel quite confused when you are watching the Games... is that American, is that French?

"I wanted to make it slightly more delicate and have more texture.

"It's very recognisable still, I've represented all the parts of Great Britain. There's a lot of red in there, but in a non-traditional way."

Where the kit was made

  • Great Britain
  • Portugal
  • Turkey
  • Sri Lanka
  • China
  • The Philippines
  • Indonesia
  • Vietnam
  • Thailand

Source: Adidas

The designer said the athletes' performance was key in creating the kit as well as ensuring it gave them confidence.

"You have to make the athletes feel like they are in the height of their performance. That they are wearing technical gear that is absolutely going to shave off the tiniest part of a second.

"Something that came across early on was that they want to feel and look like they are a team and there is such power in that.

"When I talked to the athletes I asked them: 'Do you feel different when you look good, do you think it enhances your performance?' and they all said 'yes'.

"You shouldn't have to sacrifice style for sport."

While German-owned Adidas had the technology to make the outfits breathable, footwear lighter and form streamlined, McCartney's role was different.

"I spoke to Sir Chris Hoy and said, 'what can I do to help in any way?' And he said, 'I just want to look cool'."

Stella McCartney: "It is like nothing I have ever worked on before"

Speaking at the launch, team GB BMX rider Shanaze Reade told the BBC when athletes "pulled the kits out of the packets we just thought 'Wow!'"

She said putting on the kit for the first time enhanced the feeling that the Games were "on the doorstep now".

London 2012 - One extraordinary year

London 2012 One extraordinary year graphic

Olympic gold medal-winning cyclist Sir Chris Hoy, who worked with the designers on the kit, said he was delighted with the outcome and suspected other nations would be envious of their look.

He said: "It's very important that you feel confident in your kit and you feel good in it because you don't want to be thinking about it when you're competing.

"To know that you've got the fit correct, it's aero-dynamic, it's efficient when you're on the bike, that's a big part of your performance."

The four-time Olympian said the kit was also crucial to team unity.

"You want to step out there looking the same as a unit. If you're all wearing exactly the same kit, you all look smart and you all look together, it's quite intimidating to other countries.

"The kit looks fantastic and a bit of a twist to have the union flag incorporated in it but not in an obvious way.

Sir Chris Hoy in Stella McCartney-designed 2012 kit Sir Chris Hoy told Stella McCartney the athletes wanted to 'look cool'

"I think it's really classy... and one I think we will all enjoy wearing."

Across all sports, the kit will comprise up to 175,000 items of clothing for up to 500 Olympic and 350 Paralympic athletes and includes 38 types of footwear.

Triathlete Alistair Brownlee, who is fighting back to fitness after tearing his Achilles, said the tri-suit was a "fantastic" piece of kit considering that "it's notoriously difficult to get it right, because it has to be not too baggy for the swim, but tighter for the cycle and the run".

"Standing here in London, wearing the kit, it's definitely creeping up on us now," he said.

And gymnast Louis Smith said his pale blue trousers and Union Jack vest were "comfortable, nice to wear, professional and sexy".

"With gymnastics, it's important because you're being judged on how you look," he said.

"I'll be performing the hardest routine in the world. With great risk comes great reward, and I've got to pull it off."


  • USA - Nike
  • Russia - Bosco
  • Germany - Bogner, Adidas and Sioux
  • Australia - Adidas
  • China - Anta for the formal uniform, various sponsors for sports kit

The daughter of former Beatle Paul and the late Linda McCartney, Stella McCartney heads up her own fashion house, launched in 2001.

She graduated from Central St Martins, London, in 1995, was creative director at Parisian label Chloe from 1997 and has worked with Adidas on sportswear since 2004.

While Adidas is the official kit sponsor, it has been reported some British athletes may have to step on to the podium barefoot due to a row with the British Olympic Association (BOA) over marketing rights.

Agents of top competitors sponsored by Nike have told the BOA their athletes would be in breach of contract if forced to wear Team GB's official presentation outfit.

But the BOA has said it is a "non issue" and athletes would wear the footwear that is provided as part of their presentation kit, as with previous Games.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 603.

    I am proudly British and proud of our flag. The 2012 Olympics are a showcase for our nation and MaCartney has destroyed that image! Athletes performance could become "dismantled and softened" in that rubbish kit!

  • rate this

    Comment number 602.

    What is all this Great Britain business? Are Northern Ireland excluded? Great Britain is simply the name of the main island of the British Isles (which aren't wholly British anyway!). The nation is the UK, and that is what should be on the kit. Alternatively, Britain is a synonym for the UK, but not Great Britain.
    Agreed that the flag should not have been altered. What was she thinking?

  • rate this

    Comment number 601.

    I don't understand why people keep finding things about the Olympics to whine about. What do they think they will achieve?

    We've got the biggest event in the world coming to our little island - let's try to enjoy it!

  • rate this

    Comment number 600.

    Also I just checked - the 2008 kit was all white and blue. Hardly any red. Why the fuss about this one?

  • rate this

    Comment number 599.

    Is that the same wacko stella Mccartney or a new Olympioidal avatar ?

    By the way what was so wrong with using the tried & true union jack showing the true multicultural colours ? Don`t forget it`s only a sports meet.

  • rate this

    Comment number 598.

    I like the kit, the logo and the mascots. I don't like to see us hiding our patriotism. We should be proud of our national flag, the national colours and who we are. The kits, logo, and mascots should all feature the union jack in its official colours. The Union Jack is a brand image for the UK. The games give us the chance to show off our pride in our nation. What a missed opportunity.

  • rate this

    Comment number 597.

    Just wondering. How many who don't like Mccartney's take on our emblem think there's nothing wrong with desecrating our national flag by scrawling their football club's name over it. That's a crime in most countries, and doesn't seem to happen anywhere else.

  • rate this

    Comment number 596.

    570 Stella has naff all to do with the design of the kits technical aspects which is what makes them comfortable and functional, provide of course it is Adidas kit , pity if any of the runners feel better in Nike running shoes or sports gear because the design suits them better, they won't have the choice.

  • rate this

    Comment number 595.

    #McCartney, Team GB creative director at Adidas#

    Sack her fast before she does anything else. Adidas, your reputation is at stake!

    I do hope no one paid her anything.

    She could not direct traffic, let alone design, the red lights would be 'creatively' changed to blue!

  • rate this

    Comment number 594.

    This kit is about as inspiring as the ghastly series of Olympic posters.

    "Something that was very important to me was to try and use that very iconic image but to dismantle it and try to soften it, break it down and make it more fashionable in a sense." says McCartney.

    er... why? Really, this is designer madness. Let's just hope that the athletes themselves can do team GB proud.

  • rate this

    Comment number 593.

    If I remember the GB kit used to be white with a narrow red/white/blue band round the hest.

    Why do they have to pay for designer gear when we already have a traditional kit.

    Did I hear someone saying "profit"?

  • rate this

    Comment number 592.

    What utter tosh!! Our great nations national colours are RED, WHITE and BLUE. Who cares if they are the same as France and the US. They always have been and that has never worried anybody before. Why should we change our colours just because someone else has the same ones. I love the quote 'There's a lot of red in there, but in a non-traditional way', where? Who looks at the shoes?

  • rate this

    Comment number 591.

    Of course you can see the British flag; it is THE most commonly used and recognisable flag worldwide, but where is my English, Welsh and Northern Irish red? Confusing with other red, white and blue nations? It has not been a problem before, so why now? It's our Games, we should be bathing in the traditions of Great Britain, not worried about whether we look like the Americans or the French...

  • rate this

    Comment number 590.

    I think it's a wonderful Scotland strip, and surely that was the effect Stella was going for. Most of the GB medals will be won by Scots anyway, and lets face it, we will get more support from international fans if they know the athlete is Scottish rather than British. England can have their own wee red strips after 2014.

  • rate this

    Comment number 589.

    Really? Did she just take our national flag and turn it into an Adidas logo? Wow! What next.. will the national anthem be turned into a show tune ala McDonald's or some other useless corporate business.

    I am surprised but I probably shouldn't be. I should have expected this from someone who flogs over-priced handbags.

  • rate this

    Comment number 588.

    If moaning was an olympic sport, we are definate gold contenders! Get over it, it's a sport kit! Come on GB

  • rate this

    Comment number 587.

    Really disappointed in the new kit, what was wrong with our current kit, I think that's an awesome one, needs more red... seriously team GB next time hire me ill give it a go!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 586.

    A sad day, yet another reason to be ashamed of our country.
    The union flag was designed for a reason, people have died to defend it "protect the colours".
    It's Great Britain, not "Made-up-istan".

  • rate this

    Comment number 585.

    Absolutely horrid.I find the black and blue flag realy offensive.

  • rate this

    Comment number 584.

    The story "The King is in the altogether" comes to mind!

    It must be brilliant, look who designed it?

    Chris Hoy in fron of his bike looks like he has a bib! on.


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